Saturday, November 30, 2013

I just watched this video about SOLE. It was on TedSOLE at Tumblr.

It explained SOLE pretty concisely in 3 minutes.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Using SOLE to develop plot.

Recently the students were working on developing outlines for a play using the SOLE method. They developed their plot, characters and settings as a group. When they finished the plot outline I suggested that they write individual stories using the plot outlines as a basis or the story. Alisha, Abigail and Dora worked together. Here are Abigail and Dora's stories.And now here's Alisha's.

The 2 Sisters Meet the Mysterious Fairy

By Dora

‘’That’s my horse!’’ yelled Meagan!

‘’But you rode mine yesterday!’’ Jessica yelled back!

Just then, a strike of lightning it and a Mystical Fairy appeared hidden from the strike of lightning!

(The fairy throws a rock at Jessica’s head.) (The fairy then screams.)

‘’Why’d you scream?!’’ as Megan covers her ears!

(Meagan pushes down Jessica!)

‘’Fairy down here!’’ the fairy screamed!

‘’Whoa!’” exclaimed Jessica.

 ‘’Who said that?’’ Meagan questioned.

(They both look around.)

‘’I found a fairy!’’ yelled Jessica!

(Starts to poke fairy!)

“Are you real?!”

Hey paws off! And yes I am real!’’ said the Fairy

(Meagan starts whispering to Jessica.)

‘’Are you sure we just aren’t dreaming?’’ Meagan questioned, again!

‘’We must be! Otherwise, we’re extremely psycho!’’ whispered Jessica…

‘’Um…. Hello, my name is Meagan. And that’s my sister… Jessica.

(Points to Jessica)

“Cool! I’m Charlotte! ‘’ said the Fairy!

‘’BREAKFAST!!!” Mom hollered!

“COMING!” Echoed Meagan and Jessica!

“YUM! Food yummy yum in my tum-tum!’’ exclaimed Charlotte.

‘’Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Who said you could come in here! Mom’s going to think you a fly and kill you!

So… I wouldn’t come inside if I were you!’’ said Meagan!

‘’I am much prettier than a fly!’’ smirked Charlotte

‘’You look like one! ‘’ mumbled Jessica

‘’HEY!’’ Charlotte screamed!

‘’Geez! I was just being sarcastic!’’ said Jessica scared.

‘’Anyways… We got to go now! BYE!’’ said Meagan very fast!

(Meagan grabs Jessica’s arm and pulls it inside! Before they get in the house Charlotte hops in Jessica’s boot!)

So... DO you think we’re psycho?’’ asked Jessica

“I have no idea…. I mean, it just popped out of nowhere!’’ said Meagan

‘’Anyways… I gotta go wash my hands! I’ll see you at the Breakfast table.

(Jessica walks to the bathroom.)

“Wait… What’s in my boot!?’’ said Jessica to herself!

(Pulls out Charlotte, and throws her to the mat)

“What are you doing here!? If mom sees you, you know she will kill you! Do you wanna be killed or not?’’ Jessica yelled.

“First, I’m relaxing on the ground! And second yes I know she will kill me! And third I know she will kill me and I don’t wanna be killed, I just need  food!” shouted Charlotte.

“JUST OUT QUICK!” Jessica yelled.

(Charlotte starts to move towards the window!)


“What is it?! What did mom say?” Jessica replied.                                                                                                              

“Well it says…; Dear Girls, we don’t have enough money to ship our products to the store. I’m off trying to make as much money as possible! I’ll be back as soon as possible. –Mom” read Meagan.

“Wait… Does that mean we’re poor!

“Of course not!" Maybe just a little.” Jessica mumbled.

(Meagan starts to run all over the house!)

“Meagan! Meagan! MEAGAN! Calm down! Mom’s making money. Just go outside and calm down!”

“Fine, I’ll be back soon.’’ Meagan said.

(Meagan runs outside and starts to run to her cave!)

(Charlotte starts to fly to Meagan.)

“Meagan! I heard that you were poor! What happened?! “Charlotte asked.

“Charlotte,  I have no idea! But look, you have to go to Jessica, I’m trying to do something very important!.” Said Meagan

“Okay.” Says Charlotte.

(Charlotte flies to Jessica’s room.)

“Jessica! What is Meagan doing that is so important! I know you’re poor and everything but she won’t tell me!” Charlotte said.

“Charlotte. I have no idea. I have to go find her. You have to stay here! And you have to hide! Go into my secret tunnel! But you also can’t tell anyone that I have a secret tunnel. It’s in my closet! I gotta go!”

(Meagan is just about to step into her cave until Jessica grabs her arm)

“Meagan! What are you doing? And what is this thing?” Jessica questions.

“First I am going into this cave, and second as long as you don’t tell, it’s a secret cave, okay.” Meagan says.

“ Okay. Let me go in with you.” Says Jessica.

(Meagan and Jessica start walking into the cave.)

All of a sudden they heard a scream!

“HELP ME!! HELP! HELP ME PLEASE!” said the voice.

“Jessica, that’s mom’s voice!” Meagan whispered.

“Oh my gosh! Mom isn’t trapped. And we’re not poor! Mom was.. MOM-NAPPED!” screamed Jessica!

“We have to go get her!” screamed Meagan

(Meagan and Jessica start running and running!)



Screamed Meagan and Jessica!

“Your mommy is with me, you better believe it, because you’ll be coming with me!” said the voice again!

“Where is that coming from?!” screamed Jessica!

(Suddenly both the girls got a text on their cellphones at the same time!) (Meagan and Jessica both start to pull out their phones)

“Hello! You better watch out because I’m behind you.” Meagan read.

(Meagan and Jessica both turn around and see the person.) 

 “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!” screamed Meagan and Jessica!!!

(The person starts to chase Meagan and Jessica!)

Just as Meagan and Jessica get cornered they turn around and see some water. Just as the person comes up to them they turn around and jump in! The keep swimming and swimming and swimming until they reached a door.

Meagan starts to turn the knob of the door and Charlotte flies out!

“Hey, Jessica, that’s your room.” Meagan says to Jessica.

“Yeah.. We got to find mom though!” says Jessica.

“Yeah!” Meagan replied back.

Meagan and Jessica turn around and start running to find their mom.

“MOM! MOM!” they both yelled and screamed.

Meagan and Jessica screamed with everything in them! They ran and ran even though they were breathless.  As Meagan and Jessica ran, they found another door. They stopped running and looked at the door. They both turned around to see if that voice and scary person was near them. As they looked, they we’re right, they saw the scary person jumping in the water.

“Meagan! Come on! That guy is coming!” Jessica whispered.

Jessica turned the door knob and they started to run through the huge hallway! As they ran and ran, they found that Charlotte was starting to follow them. But they kept running, because Charlotte could fly if the person came. Soon they we’re at the end of the hallway, and the bad thing was that they scary person was just behind them. They found another door, and another, and one after another. Soon, the last door they turned, they found an empty space. They closed the door and locked it. Meagan and Jessica both looked around the room. They noticed that even though there was a huge space, there were tons of things in the room. They started to look under bookshelves, and tables. Soon they found a painting right above the bed. They decided to see if there was anything behind the painting, like they saw in movie. After they moved the painting, they saw that there was another tunnel into another room. Before they went in, they turned around to see if that person would be trying to get in the room. To their suspect, they were right! They decided just to go into the tunnel quick, before the person broke in! Meagan and Jessica started to crawl through the tunnel.

“Owe! I hit my head Jessica!” said Meagan.

“Shhhh! That person might hear us and this thing we’re crawling through could be vents!” Jessica whispered.

“Yeah Meagan, SHHHH!!!” screamed Charlotte.

“Ugh,” moaned Meagan and Jessica.

Than all of a sudden, from the room before, they heard someone come in.  And both of the girls forgot to put the painting back. Soon, when they stopped to look behind them, they heard someone coming. They both rushed through whatever they we’re crawling through! And soon after that, they we’re in another room. They knew the person would be coming soon. They rushed to see if there were any other crawl spaces, paintings, or rooms. Soon enough, the person or someone else was coming and they had to hurry to escape. They couldn’t find any way to escape. Than all of a sudden, the person came.  All you could hear were the screams of Meagan and Jessica.


Luckily Charlotte came! Charlotte used some spells to defeat the person. But the only thing is, the person had a mask on and could be faking. But Charlotte used all her might to try and have the person unconscious. “

“Defeater, tomeater, make this person, unconscious-er!” was one of the spell Charlotte used.

But since Charlotte was still a beginner with magic…. It didn’t work.  But she tried again, mainly because the person was getting closer and closer and closer. 

“From mighty ways, to the French fries, make this person eat some French fries!” said Charlotte.

Even though it wasn’t the right spell, the person got seated with a table, a bib, and some French fries.

Then again, Charlotte did another spell so the wall would break down.

“Wall-o, cob-o, make this wall go disappear-o!” said Charlotte.

The wall didn’t go disappear-o, sadly. The wall was still there. But Charlotte tried again like always. But this time, she yelled at the same spell. Knowing that magic gets scared, you have to want it, for it to happen.

“WALL-O, COB-O, MAKE THIS WALL GO DISAPPEAR-O!!!!!” Charlotte screamed.

Then, the wall disappeared! Meagan and Jessica ran while Charlotte flied! They ran and ran and ran, but they hit a dead end! They turned around but the person was there! They all screamed!!


They all tried to escape the person but it was no use. They knew that the person was going to take them like the person took mom. They tried to turn around but suddenly a wall appeared! They tried to find some escape but there was no use! They all screamed!



The Mysterious Fairy
By Abigail
“Why can’t I ride your horse? you rode mine yesterday” said Jessica
Then out of nowhere a strike of lightning hit and a magical fairy stepped out of it. Charlotte (the fairy that just appeared) fell to the ground. Charlotte throws a rock at Jessica’s head and she thinks it was Meagan so she throws a rock at her and then Meagan pushes Jessica and she almost lands on Charlotte (who is hiding in a flower)so she screams.
“Wow, cool a fairy “Jessica said as she pokes Charlotte.
“YO PAWS OFF “yelled Charlotte (as she slaps Jessica’s hand.)
“Breakfast” called mom
“Yum breakfast “exclaimed Charlotte
 “Wow no. No. Mom’s going to think you’re a fly!” Meagan said
“Hey I am much prettier than a fly!!!” said Charlotte angrily
Jessica and Meagan start walking in for breakfast but Charlotte grabs Jessica’s leg and goes in too.
“What took so long “mom asked?
“They foun…. ” Charlotte tried to say before Jessica covered her mouth. Charlotte runs towards the bedrooms and bathrooms.
“We found an Interesting bug!” said Meagan trying to cover up for Jessica and Charlotte. As Jessica runs towards where she thought Charlotte ran to. Jessica looks in the first bedroom NOTHING. So she looks in the second bedroom NOTHING! So she looks in the bathroom and just as she half way opened the door something says “yo fairy in the tub.”
So Jessica grabs Charlotte a towel “what are you doing “asked Jessica
“Well duh I am taking a bath. I had some cow doo doo on my leg from my terrible fall “exclaimed Charlotte. Jessica grabs Charlotte and puts her in a box. In the meanwhile Meagan is running out of ideas to try to stall mom she already told her there were tomatoes that needed to be harvested, that the cow was having babies which it was, and the pig ran out of food.
“What do I do know?”
Just in time Jessica came out of the washroom with a box. She quickly put the box under the table without her mother seeing. A few minutes later, Jessica looks in the box to make sure Charlotte was still there, and hasn’t gotten in to trouble. Luckily for Meagan and Jessica Charlotte had fallen asleep. Jessica, Meagan, and mom sat down at the table and started to eat. Just as mom was going to put a bite of pancake in her mouth they heard a mysterious sound. Mom went to go see if she had accidentally left her window open again. Jessica looked at the box under the table it was shaking sure enough Charlotte started snoring. Meagan looked under the table to see what was taking Jessica so long.  She saw the box shaking.  She kicked the box.
She stopped snoring mom comes back from her bed room and sees them with their heads under the table she quietly walked back to her seat and puts her head under the table and says “so what are you whispering about” they both jump a little and bump their heads on the table. Mom sees the box she asks what’s in the box and
Meagan says nothing. They all come up from under the table and finish their breakfast. Jessica and Meagan go to wash the dishes and mom sneaks a look in the box she sees Charlotte. Mom gives the girls trouble for lying and tells them that Charlotte needs to call home and tell her parents where she is. She called her mother and she was there within 10 minutes. Her mother told her to go pack up and they would leave right away. Charlotte disagreed and got into a fight. Jessica and Meagan went to fix things with her mother. They told her how happy she was and how they would make a great addition to the family. But while all this has been happening mom went to the bank to get another loan because they have run out of money. Jessica and Meagan convinced Charlotte’s mom to stay. Jessica and Meagan got their secret tunnels and got all their life saving the end up with a total of 1000, 000dollars they put it all on the table and mom comes home in tears because the bank wouldn’t allow her to take another loan. But mom dries her tears and sees all the money on the table. She asks where it came from they say they saved up from birthdays, Christmas, and jobs around the neighbourhood. They get to keep their house and pay off debts. And Charlotte and her mother stay with the Jones family and live happily ever after.

The Mysterious Fairy
By Alisha
“I want to ride the horse Meagan” says Jessica.
“Well it’s my horse so NO” said Meagan.
A struck of lightning appeared and a fairy came out of the struck of lightning. The fairy came tumbling down and then Meagan said to Jessica “Don’t worry it is probably just a bug”
“Why can’t I ride the horse” said Jessica.
“I said No so the answer is No” said Meagan.
Then Charlotte throws a rock at Jessica’s head.
“OOWW what was that” said Jessica. Then Charlotte screamed and Meagan thought it was Jessica so she pushed Jessica down on the ground. (Right next to charlotte.)
“OOWW GET OFF OF ME” screamed charlotte.
“Fairy down here” said Charlotte.
“Wow cool a fairy” said Jessica (Jessica pokes Charlotte to see if she is real)
“GET YOUR PAWS OF ME “yelled Charlotte 
“Ok well I am Meagan and the one that was poking your face is Jessica and you are “asked Meagan
“Oh me I am sweet little Charlotte but you can call me Charlotte for short
“BREAKFAST “yelled mom (in the house)
“Yum Breakfast “said Charlotte
“Wow wow wow not you us “said Meagan
“She will think you’re a fly and kill you “said Jessica
“Wow wow wow I am much prettier than a fly “said Charlotte
“Well you look like one “said Jessica
“HEY“yelled Charlotte
“I was just being sarcastic geez“
“Well we got to go Jessica “said Meagan
“See you here when we are done breakfast charlotte“ said Jessica
(Charlotte grabbed on to Jessica’s boot)
(They are in the house right now)
“Well I have to wash my hands be in the washroom “said Jessica
“I think I have something in me boot “said Jessica
(Throws charlotte on the mat) finish washing my hands”
“What you weren’t supposed to come in the house” said Jessica
“I know but I was hungry” said charlotte
“Ok come with me then but DON’T talk” whispered Jessica
“Ok” happily said Charlotte
Then we walk to the kitchen
“What took you so long Jessica” asked mom
“Well they found a F said charlotte but before she said fairy Jessica covered her mouth (because she was on Jessica’s shoulders
“Well um we found an interesting bug” said Meagan covering for Jessica
Then they finished breakfast then Jessica threw Meagan into a box before their mom couldn’t see Charlotte mom saw something moving in the box so she went over opened the box and saw a fairy
“Is this real” asked mom
“Yes I’m real” said Charlotte
“AAAHHH” screamed mom
“Don’t worry I don’t bite” said Charlotte
“Am I dreaming” asked mom
“NO you are not dreaming” said Charlotte
“What is going on” asked mom
“Ok well we were fighting over horses because Jessica wanted to ride my horse but I wouldn’t let her ride my horse and we were in the woods and a very small struck of lightning appeared and then we  found Charlotte the fairy” said Meagan

“Um why are you here” asked mom
“I don’t know I am trying to find my family but I need help because I have no idea what to do to see my family and I need your guys help” said Charlotte
“Mom can we please help her” asked Jessica and Meagan
“Ok I guess we can help her” said mom
“Oh thank you guys so much” said Charlotte
“Ok well now that we got that settled I have to go and get some spare money because we don’t have that much money ok see you at I think about 6:00” said mom and then she hugs Jessica and Meagan and then she leaves
“Does that mean we are poor” asked Meagan
“No that does not mean we are poor” said Jessica
“Well I mean a little” whispered Jessica
“What did you say” asked Meagan
“Nothing” said Jessica
“Well I will be outside if you need me” said Meagan
Then Meagan goes outside
“Quick follow me” said Jessica
“Why” asked Charlotte
“Just follow me” said Jessica
“Ok I guess” said charlotte
(We go in my room) and I move my dresser and there is a door
“Ok now stay close to me” said Jessica
Then there is a room we go in and I looks so cool and then on another dresser there was a whole bunch of money then we go out of the secret door into her room and close the door and then we move the dresser
 “ok now we but the money on the kitchen counter now let’s go outside and find Meagan ok” said Jessica
“Ok” said Charlotte
As Charlotte fly’s out the door
“Wow wait up Charlotte” said Jessica
We find Meagan in the cave and run over to the cave
“Wow you have your own cave” said Jessica
“Yes I do “in a shammed voice said Meagan
“Don’t worry Jessica has a secret door in her room” said Charlotte
“You weren’t supposed to tell her Charlotte” said Jessica
“ oopps” said Charlotte
“No way have you had a secret door” said Meagan
“Yes and I will show you” said Jessica
“Ok” said Meagan
Then she shows Meagan the secret door then we got to the kitchen and out of nowhere she has a bunch of money come out of her pockets and mom comes in
“Where did all this money come from” asked mom
“Well we have both been saving up money” said Meagan
“And we want to give it to you to pay for the house and send all are products to the store” said Jessica
“Thanks you girls so much and now we can help you Charlotte get home to your family” said mom
“Can we call them with my powers” asked Charlotte
“Yes of course we can what do we have to do” asked Meagan
“Well I think we have to get lots of things to make that power” said Charlotte
“What do we have to get” asked Jessica
“Well in fairy land once you get all the stuff from human world you get to get another power and that is what I was trying to do but I don’t know how to do it
“Well we need any type of flower, an old clock and a hammer and screw driver to make it” said Charlotte
“Ok well then let’s get stared” said mom excitedly
“Mom where is my old clock that was in my room” asked Jessica
“I think in the attic Jessica” said mom
“I will get a flower said Charlotte
“I will get the hammer and screw driver
“And meet me in the kitchen girls” said mom
Fist Jessica came back from getting the old clock then Charlotte was back from getting the flower then Meagan was back from getting the hammer and the screw driver
“Ok what do we have to do” asked Meagan
“Well I have to put it together with my magical powers there is a spell that I know and since I have my wand I can do it” said Charlotte
“Well what is the spell” asked Jessica
“I don’t know it is in the spell book but there is over 1000 spells” said Charlotte
“Well where is the spell book” asked mom
“It is in my back pack that is in Jessica’s room” said Charlotte
“Ok I will go get it” said Jessica
“Can I come with you” said Charlotte
“Yes you can come with me Charlotte” said Jessica
Then they went to Jessica’s room and got the back pack then they came back in the kitchen
“I have the spell book” said Charlotte with joy and happiness
Then they were looking for the spell all day and finally they found the spell
“I found the spell” said Charlotte
“What is it” said Jessica
“It says it is whiska kadoo make me a home phone to give me something to do with a flower and clock and a hammer and a screw driver” said Charlotte
“That is a weird spell” said Jessica
“I know right” said Meagan
“Ok now let’s get started
“Ok now I am going to milk the cows because I have to send the products to the store soon” said mom
Mom leaves the house
“Ok. Good bye mom. See you soon” said Jessica and Meagan and Charlotte
Then it has been 2 hours and they were getting worried
“Jessica where is mom” asked Meagan
“I don’t know she said she was milking the cows but it does not take 2 hours to milk the cows
All of a sudden they heard a voice
“Whose voice is that” asked Jessica to Meagan
“Jessica that is mom’s voice mom has been mom napped” said mom
“What we have to go help her” said Jessica
“Ok Charlotte you stay her and when we want your help you come and help us but stay in my little secret door ok” said Jessica
“Yep I got it” said Charlotte
Then Jessica and Meagan ran to the cave to go there in the cave because it was hidden and then crawl around the cave to try and find their mom but then they both got a text at the same time on their iPods saying you better run I am right behind you then they turn around and they see a black face and they both scream as loud as they can and then Charlotte heard and she ran outside and there was something in her hand it was shiny and and then we saw it was a spoon and she was charging at the bad guy but we didn’t see his face it was just black and then when Charlotte was chasing the bad guy with the spoon and we finally found are mom then we see the bad guy charging at us and Charlotte chasing after him with a shiny spoon then Jessica and Meagan both scream and then their mom tells them to un tie her first but they had to think of a plan
“What are we going to do” asked Meagan
“Well I will have to think of a plan” said Jessica
“Well think of one quick or we are almost going to be dead” said Meagan
“I got one but we need Charlotte to do it” said Jessica
But then the bad guy was chasing after them so they had to ask Charlotte for help
“CHARLOTTE” screamed Jessica and Meagan
“WHAT” screamed Charlotte right back at them
Then as they were running they were actually running circles trying to confuse him but they would make lots of things to make him trip from the wheat and then all of a sudden he fell to the ground because he tripped on our plan and then they all ran together into the wheat and then they hid and said there plan to get their mom back
“ok so this is what we want you to do, Meagan when I say your name you are going to un tie mom and Charlotte you go get a knife to go and un tie mom and give it to Meagan and I will distract him and I am running then he is running too and then I duck and I stick my hand out he tripe’s over my hand and I take off his mask to see who he is” said Jessica
“So I have to get a knife and then I give it to Meagan to un tie your mom” said Charlotte
“Yes please” said Jessica
“Ok” said Charlotte
“Ok what happens when I am done” asked Meagan
“Then you hide with mom and tell her not to come and help or it will ruin the plan
“Ok” said Meagan
“Ok let’s do this” said Jessica
Then all of a sudden the bad guy got up from that hurtful fall
And charlotte ran in the house to get the knife and Meagan ran to the cave out of sight because she was crawling on the ground so the bad guy would no see her then Jessica got up and the bad guy saw her and ran after Jessica then Charlotte came out of the house with a knife and gave it to Meagan
“Thanks Charlotte” said Meagan
“You are welcome” said Charlotte
Then Meagan started to un tie their mother when they were finished they hid in the cave and then Jessica ducked and stuck out her hand and the bad guy tripped they all ran over and Jessica and Meagan’s mom took of the mask
“Who are you” asked Jessica
“I am Jeff Reff” said Jeff
“Are you trying to steel are farm and capture are mother and then we would have no food and we would go to a children’s home and then you take over” said Meagan
“Well I was about to then you caught me” said Jeff
“Mom tie him up and then call the police” said Jessica
“No please don’t sent me to jail” said Jeff
“Why not you tried to steal are mother” said Jessica
“I will give you all my money” said Jeff
“Oh money my favorite” said Charlotte
“WE ARE CALLING THE COPS CHARLOTTE” said Jessica and Meagan and their mom
“Fine I guess” said Charlotte
Then they called the cops and the cops took him away
“Ok now let’s get back to the house and work on the spell” said mom
“Ok are you ready Charlotte” said Jessica
“Yep I am ready” said Charlotte
“Ok let’s do this “said Meagan
Then it was time for the spell
“whiska kadoo make me a home phone to give me something to do with a flower and clock and a hammer and a screw driver” said Charlotte
Then all of a sudden a portal opened and then Charlotte’s mother came out then her dad and then Charlotte said
“MOM DAD “said Charlotte excitedly
Then Charlotte’s mother said “are you ready to go home”
“Well mom I was wondering if we could stay here and you home school me with all the spells” asked Charlotte
“Well I guess if it ok with them” said Charlotte’s dad
“Yes it is ok” said their mom
Then they had a great time playing with each other
The end

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Curriculum Follow Up.

Below is one of the examples from my Social Studies Curriculum (Ontario). You can see in the sample questions some of the information I am using to perform SOLE with my students. The students will explore the questions and come up with information to show they understand and to answer the question. In doing this they will be discussing and explaining they knowledge gained from the research.In the brackets are also a place where some BIG questions could be developed.

A3.6 describe some significant differences among First Nations and between selected First Nations and European settlements in early Canada (e.g., with reference to political and economic organization; cultural practices; land use/ownership; personal autonomy; attitudes towards the environment; the roles of men, women, and children), and identify some of the reasons for these differences (e.g., climate; availability of resources and arable land; the culture, customs, and economic and political system in the mother country; familiarity with the land and its resources) Sample questions: “What were the differences between Haudenosaunee and Ojibwe housing?” “How did the social organization on a seigneurie differ from that in the town of Montreal?” “What were some of the differences between the life of a child in a Wendat family and one in a settler family in New France?” “How did climate and the availability of resources affect the way the Innu lived?”

Adapting SOLE to the curriculum.

The curriculum is the background that allows teachers to do their job. It defines what has to be learned. SOLE can work very well outside the curriculum but it works even better if done in conjunction with the curriculum. Often in education we become slaves to the curriculum. "How am I going to teach all the curriculum this year," is a comment often heard in teaching circles. There are things in the curriculum that our students already know. Do we need to spend periods reteaching it? The curriculum is there as a guideline, as post markers that allows us to have our students acquire information. The question becomes "How do we apply the curriculum to the students learning?" In this context we apply part of the curriculum that applies to the students as they are reading, writing, revising their work.

The part of the curriculum that interests me the most in terms of SOLE is creating the big question. In my curriculum this has already been done. I pick through this and find the questions that need to be looked at and send the students off to explore it. They always come back with more questions and more information than I could have them deduct in a traditional classroom setting. Does this mean I do not have to each traditionally? Not in the least. There are times when the whole class needs information, needs to learn some aspect of the curriculum and that is when I bring them all together to discuss this. In using SOLE in a classroom one has to move back and forth between the two methods. This flexibility allows the students to maintain that sense of working towards a larger picture.

When I started SOLE, before we ever did anything with it I talked to my class. I talked about my belief that education is something more than information that can be gained through books or the Internet. I talked about how the mind works in mysterious ways, that each person is unique and special and that everyone is capable of learning. How we all learning is different from the person next to us. What we share in common though is the ability to discuss and see new things, to ask questions, to explore new thoughts and discuss them so that our lives are enriched. Everything that has been invented comes from one question, "How can I make my life better?" Everything we do revolves around this and when we explore it we can see that life takes on more meaning. We understand more clearly. We see more possibilities. We determine our values. We take pleasure in being the best we can be.   And then I talk about SOLE and how this can help them determine their lives. It is my buy in with them.


According to Simon Sinek, why is the reason that defines what we do. Those who are successful have defined their why, the deep down reason they do anything.  Some people are not the best speakers in the world, nor always have the best product or idea by they can articulate the reason why they believe in what they do and how it aligns with the higher purpose in life. That is why some people who come up with new ideas seem to come out of nowhere. They connect on why this is important, not how it will do something. Check out his Ted Talk for further details.

                SOLE is about the enrichment of student lives. It follows their interests and piques their curiosity. It allows them to be who they are rather than what I, as a teacher, want them to be. It expands on their curiosity and provides the basis for lifelong learning. Their knowledge base increases and so do the questions arising from it. Their confidence level soars so they can become who they want to be rather than something we, as teachers, have molded and shaped. It is inclusive. It fits all learning styles. It defines what education should be about.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A good education is a challenge to the status quo. It is also an intensely personal experience. When we use technology to explore our interests we open our thoughts to new ideas as we seek to understand. When we share our knowledge through discussion, we create a stronger sense of community. Self Organized Learning Environments do all this and more. Join the SOLE discussion today.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Lifelong Learning: The School Conundrum
Lifelong learning is something we all believe in. It is the idea that gives us strength, helps us stay strong. It reaffirms the instinct to learn and grow. As adults we embrace it whole heartedly. This can be seen in the courses we take, the interests we follow, the need to improve ourselves at our job and our knowledge shared in conversation. We make it a top priority in our lives.
As educators we talk about the need to instill the idea of lifelong learning in children, to show them the path to becoming knowledgeable.  While we are noble and honest in our beliefs we are also dead wrong. The children that enter school are already lifelong learners. In the short period of their lives they have learned a great deal more about life all by themselves with little input from anyone. They explore, mull over, experiment, consider, and follow their thoughts as they learn everything from their world around them. All of this is done without a curriculum, standardized testing or any other ideas floating around in every classroom on the planet. In school they follow a program designed by the state and implemented by well meaning teachers. Students often question the use of the material they are taught. “What do they need to know this for?” is often a topic of discussion. Children reason very well that what they want to learn about is not found in curriculum but in the wonder of their minds.
The day is now among us that student can reach out and explore their thoughts and ideas. They learn about the things that interest them and the things they need to know about now. They can do this through SOLE.